The Nuttery : Volume 10 Number 2 May 1991

In this Issue...

Look for the announcements of the two spring field days. You will find an article explaining the important purposes behind these field days. Also, you will find the announcement box with dates and times, and a map for each site. If you have any questions, call either Cliff Craig about the Baxter day, or Irene Woolford about Oak Valley (their phone numbers are in the Members list at the back of the Nuttery).

The calendar for the Chapter for 1992/92 is included. The executive have asked that each issue of the Nuttery the calendar for all future planned meetings. This issue, consequently, shows the entire calendar for the this year. As well, whatever details are known about any upcoming meeting will be published as well. Note that the dates for Executive meetings and Nutteries are also given. This is to give you an opportunity to submit articles or information to the Nuttery, or to have items place on the Executive agenda. If you have questions or suggestions, please call any executive member.

The are several reports on Chapter Projects. The Baxter Liaison Committee, the Dominion Arboretum Liaison Committee, the Nut Industry Committee and the Oak Valley Planning Committee each have submitted a important reports on their progress to date. Remember, these committees are open to all members. To join in, simply call any committee member.

Hank Jones reports an interesting personal experience with locally grown ginkgo nuts. Other reports include progress on tracking down American Chestnuts growing in Newfoundland; events at the past Annual General Meeting at Baxter in March; progress on the nut gardening TV program for PBS in the US; and on the just completed CBC noon gardening show exhibition. There may be other interesting article as well that have come in just under the deadline.

The editor will be pleased to get comments and letters from readers at anytime.

Spring '91 Field Days... A time to learn.

As usual, the Chapter is sponsoring two spring field days in May again this year, the first at the Baxter Nut Grove on Saturday, May 4th, and the second at the Oak Valley Plantation on following Saturday, May 11th. The host for the Baxter Nut Grove Field Day is the Baxter Liaison Committee (see their article in this issue). The host for the Oak Valley Field Day is the Oak Valley Planning Committee (see their article in this issue).

There is no formal meeting held during, or monetary charge for, these field days, so members are encouraged to bring friends, neighbours and relatives to participate. Usually, nut seed or spare stock is available for exchange.

The spring field days have three main purposes.

First, the necessary annual horticultural work on the Chapter's two main nut tree growing projects gets done under the expert eyes of the Chapter's most skilled members. This work includes planting and transplanting new stock, managing the nursery beds, pruning and labelling as required, and correcting any winter damage. Project records and data bases are updated. In other words, almost all horticultural and arboricultural aspects of growing nuts trees is applied during these field days. Participants will usually meet George Joiner, Kitty Joiner, Alec Jones and Cliff Craig, among others, at the Baxter Field Day. All these growers have had years of experience they are willing to share. At Oak Valley, participants will likely meet Irene Woolford, Mark Schaefer, Bob Bogle, George Truscott, Bob Scally, Kathleen Jones, Art Read, and others, all of whom are knowledgeable about most aspects of nut growing.

Consequently, all members are invited to attend, which helps us achieve the field day's second main purpose. New members (or anyone else for that matter, who wants to learn nut tree growing techniques first hand, with hands-on practice, can come to the Baxter Nut Grove or the Oak Valley Black Walnut Plantation (or both) field days. See the Announcement Panels for times, places and directions.

Lastly, the spring field days are scheduled at the beginning of the growing season after a long winter. Growers skills and tools are usually a little rusty after the long winter. At the field days, everyone can get together to rejuvenate their interest, tools and skills. Some people may have spent study time over the winter researching new ideas and information about the techniques of nut growing and are often prepared to discuss same. Consequently, value information as well as highly developed skills are abundantly available at the field days.

These two field days are a must for the serious and/or determined nut grower working in Eastern Ontario or Western Quebec.

As noted, there is no charge for this activity. Everyone is welcome, member and non-member alike. So members may bring friends, relatives, etc. The programs usually last most of the day, so bring a lunch and some refreshments. During lunch, information, seed and stock are often exchanged. Participants are encouraged to bring cameras (or Camcorders) and to photograph the sites, trees and activities for posterity and to help document details of the work done.

See you and yours again this year at the Spring Field Days at Baxter and Oak Valley!

Baxter Liaison Committee

The Baxter Nut Grove has reached a critical time in its history. It is time to document the past and review the long term future of the nut grove. The long term plan should include an annual operating and maintenance work plan. It is also time to promote public use of the Baxter Nut Grove and develop the public information and education objectives.

The Eastern Chapter of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers (ECSONG) and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) would like to see the planning, development and maintenance of the Baxter Nut Grove continue successfully. The overview/supervision of these activities is a continuous process. It is proposed that these activities be coordinated by the Baxter Liaison Committee (BLC).

The functions of the Baxter Liaison Committee are:

The current membership on the Baxter Liaison Committee consists of Cliff Craig (Chair), George Joiner, Alec Jones and Mark Schaefer. The committee is looking for new members who would like to become involved and help manage the grove throughout its second decade and into the twenty first century.

The Baxter Liaison Committee invites all interested members and guests to participate in our annual spring field day at Baxter. This is an excellent way to get involved and to help carry out the annual work plan and ultimately the grove management plan. Look for an announcement in this issue of the Nuttery.

Oak Valley Planning Committee

Now that the winter snows have pushed the weeds down it is much easier to see the trees and the leaf mulching which was emplaced last fall. A small area near the entrance was cleared with a brush cutter to provide for the present site of the nursery. Some seeds were planted last fall and others are to go in this spring.

The Oak Valley Planning Committee (Irene Woolford, Ernie Kerr, Hank Jones, and Karen Bertrand) held it's first meeting in March to discuss long term plans to possibly turn this area into a park.

The first step is to survey the land area and determine what trees are in existence. Ernie Kerr will be surveying the area into grid format whereby stakes are placed at regular intervals to facilitate mapping between points. Ernie has already drafted a base map.

As well, thought is being given to constructing a large raised seed box where the nursery now is. This box could be constructed out of 5/8ths inch aspenite sheets and 2x2s. If a sheet is cut lengthwise into four two-foot wide strips, a box two-feet high, four feet wide and twelve feet long can be built (two of the eight footers are cut into four-footers; one pair for the ends and the other to extend the sides from eight to twelve feet). Enough 2x2s would be needed to form stakes to support the side and to tie across the sides. Half-inch mesh hardware cloth covering the structure would discourage rodents and birds from robbing the beds. Two such boxes would do nicely for the seed bed. Anyone interested in building these this spring??

Everyone is invited to come help out on May 11th. Help is needed in flattening and chopping dead weeds, clearing maples, and transplanting Black Walnuts. If possible please bring sharp pointed shovels for digging.

Ernie tells me the nice rabbits were happily girdling the pines this winter but the tree guards have saved the Black Walnuts. However those Black Walnuts at the eastern limit were not protected, so we'll hope they survived.

I would like to see peas put in around the Black Walnuts to provide nitrogen. Any offers or suggestions of other plants for this purpose are welcomed.

In the event of heavy rain this day will be cancelled as it is difficult work clay soils when they are wet.

A taste of ginkgo

Hank Jones managed to collect about two gallons of ginkgo nuts in the Ottawa area last fall. These were cleaned and are stored in a cold room.

A handful were given to Masami Iwasaki-Goodman, the wife of one of Hank's Ottawa friends, Dan Goodman. Masami was pleased to have fresh ginkgos, as she says the canned ones has lost some of their appeal. She was surprised to learn the supply given her was locally grown!

She used the nuts to make two delicious dishes (which Hank was privileged to sample). The first was chawan-mushi, and egg custard containing chicken, seafood and ginkgos. The other was glazed ginkgos skewered on toothpick. The secret to preparing ginkgos for eating lies in cooking them a special way. Raw ginkgos do not taste good!

Here is how. When the nut are harvested in the late fall off the ground, they resemble wild plums. This soft outer flesh is malodorous and somewhat corrosive. It is removed by screening through ½ inch mesh hardware cloth with plenty of water jetted from the garden hose . The rinsed nuts are put away damp in cold storage to prevent drying out.

In order to prepare them for eating, Masami instructs us to carefully crack the hard shell so as not to crush the soft kernel inside. Put the nut kernels in hot water (but not boiling) and cook at mid heat for 3 or 4 minutes the soft brown skin starts to crack and you see the green kernel inside. Take the pot off the heat and add cold water until lukewarm. With the fingers, carefully slip off the soft brown skin. The kernels are now ready.

To make the skewered ginkgos, put the kernels in a pot, and add the following: 1 tbsp Sake; 1 tbsp sugar; and a pinch of salt. Cook at mid heat, stirring nuts so that each gets coated with the mixture. Keep stirring until the mixture gets thick and sticky. Skewer the nuts three to a tooth pick and serve with warm Sake.

Thank you, Dan and Masami, for introducing us to the taste of ginkgo, Japanese style!

Tracking the American Chestnut

As reported in past issues of the Nuttery, a story is circulating that in the 1930's, a man from western Michigan sent seeds of the sweet American chestnut (Castanea dentata) to his father who lived near Topsail, Newfoundland. The story goes that the seeds were planted and a few years later, the father wrote asking what he might do with the nut crops.

On the 19th of April, 1991, Hank Jones phoned Bernard Jackson, the curator of the St John's Botanical Gardens to enquire if anyone had encounter these trees. Mr Jackson suggested that Dr Sandy Robertson of the Canadian Forestry Service in St John's would be the best contact. We will be trying to reach Sandy this coming week. Keep your fingers crossed that these trees may still survive. If so, and they are blight free, there may be important possibilities for Newfoundland as the new home of the American chestnut, and maybe even a future source of commercial quantities. This is probably a dream, but who knows???

PS... Art Read distributed about a hundred chestnut seed this spring that he got from a contact in the American midwest. George Truscott reports has about dozen already sprouted. Hank Jones has another five coming up. Dave Baker has one with a four inch tap root already with no sign of the cotyledons as yet. If anyone else with seed can report progress, please drop a note to the Nuttery.

Lessons from History?

We are all interested in the future of nut-growing in the Ottawa Valley. Many of us are experimenting and testing various species in the present and looking forward to applying the info gathered. It may be that useful info can still be extracted from the past.

Thanks to ECSONG's good friend, Clare Coons, we have a great amount of information on the walnut orchards of the first United Empire Loyalists, the Mohawks who settled in the Grand River area. In the mid-years of the 19th century these orchards would send wagon-loads of black walnuts to the markets of Toronto at a reputed price of $2.00 a load.

A number of people, prominent among whom are ECSONG members Hubert Rhodes and George Christie, have identified nut groves at Iroquois camping sites in the Ottawa Valley, created accidentally, no doubt, in earlier years.

We should look at another interesting feature. Practically every town in the Valley, large or small, has one or more mature nut trees in its home gardens. How come? Was there a Johnny Walnutseed? Were today's trees the 'original' ones, or had they been preceded by earlier generations? Possibly community archives and memories could throw some light on this part of history of nut-growing in the Valley and help us in the future.

The Log Farm... history researcher needed

Alec Jones' article on the lessons of history in this issue should read before this article. Now, having read Alec's article, you are probably curious about this story.

In past issues, there were reports about "The Log Farm", a heritage program of the Log Farm Trust Society. The Log Farm people asked us if we would like to help them explain and demonstrate the uses and value of nuts to the indigenous peoples and pioneers of the Ottawa Valley of the last century.

Are the historians (amateur or otherwise) amongst us in ECSONG? In our annals we have little or no historical use information; historical research is required. Can anyone take the lead???

Call the editor if you have an urge to delve into the past to enlighten us all...

Nut Gardening on PBS

Nut trees and shrubs can grow in many climates and habitats. In ECSONG, we often think of the nut plantation or grove, or nut trees in the woodlot, or a few big shade trees. That is, we tend to think big.

However, consider the place of nut trees and shrubs in the home garden. The home garden is usually small, part of an urban or suburban yard. There is usually a place for a shade tree or two, but what about what some call the 'edible landscape'. In the edible landscape concept, most if not all plants produce food for the owners and possibly for desirable wildlife. In other words, the plant are not just decorative, but provide food and other useful products.

In the new ECSONG project to help produce a half-hour episode of the American Public Broadcasting System's (PBS) regular program "From A Country Garden", we must address the issues of the placing nut trees and shrubs into home gardens.

Consider that some species grow into large shade trees, such as the walnuts, chestnuts and hickories; others are confers, like the nut pines, that could be superb windbreaks and shelter belts. Others can form hedges, such as the hazels and even the beech (properly trained). The hazel also form as small, orchard like trees (for example, the Turkish hazel).

In designing the PBS program, which by the way is directed and hosted by local gardeners Anstace and Larry Esmonde-White of Kemptville, Ontario, we must turn our minds to the small scale. We must raise and answer the issues about placing, planting, and maintaining nut trees and shrubs and shrubs in gardens. What is special about handling nut trees? We must show how easily these species can be employed by demonstrating the few simple precautions that must be taken to assure success.

An editorial panel of some of ECSONG's most experienced local nut growers (Bob Scally, Alec Jones, Mark Schaefer and George Truscott) is at this moment examining the key issues. ECSONG's project committees (on Baxter, Oak Valley, Nut Industry and Dominion Arboretum) are on deck to help with supplies and stock for demonstrations.

Got an idea or two? Do you want to join in? You are certainly welcome to... call Hank Jones, or any member of the editorial panel, or the chairs of any of our project committees right away!

Pine nuts are luxury food

by Marie Bianco (reprinted from The Ottawa Citizen, April 17, 1991)

Along with caviar, saffron and truffles, pine nuts are among the most expensive foods we eat.

And no wonder. The preparation is a long process. First you have to find a pine tree at least 25 years old; then someone has to gather the cones, competing with birds, squirrels and other small animals for the seeds; then remove the seeds from the cones and, finally, remove the nuts from the seeds.

To us, they may be a luxury food but, to the Navaho and Pueblo Indians of the Southwest United States, pine nuts are a diet staple. Indians gather their nuts from the pinon pine, and they eat the nuts raw, boiled, mashed, ground into flour or as a spread for corn cakes.

Harvested in Italy from the stone or parasol pine, pignoli are an important ingredient in dishes such as pesto in Genoa and pasta con sarde in Sicily-Pignons in Spain and Portugal come from the royal pine tree and are cooked with dried, salted cod or in paella.

Combined with rice and currants, pine nuts become stuffing for grape leaves in the Middle East, and in China, pine nuts can be found in sweets or as garnished in savoury fried dishes; Koreans add them to congee, kimchi and rice desserts.

There are about 80 types of pine trees and most pine nuts are edible. Some taste faintly like pine, others have a turpentine or resin flavour. The pine nuts are tucked inside pine cones and as the cones become warm, either naturally or by the sun or in an oven, the seeds are released. A ton of pine cones yields about 75 pounds of shelled pine nuts remain. Sold with the husks in tact, they often are called Indian nuts.

Pine nuts can be identified by colour and shape. The Mediterranean ones are about 5/8 inch long, slender, ivory in colour, slightly sweet. The Chinese pine nut is more beige, more teardrop-shaped and more pungent in flavour. They are usually about half the price of Mediterranean pine nuts.

Occasionally, you can find pine nuts in some supermarkets but usually you'll find them in specialty produce stores and in shops specializing in Italian or Lebanese food products.

Pine nuts are high in fat and become rancid unless stored in air tight containers in a cool place. They can be frozen, but they tend to become mushy, so buy them as you need them. Once ounce of pine nuts, (about 2 tablespoons) contains 146 calories, 14.3 grams fat and 4 grams carbohydrates.

They can be tossed into salads, ground and used as a breading for fish, mixed into chutney, and substituted for other nuts in baking. Add a few to spinach, eggplant or roasted pepper dished. To release the full flavour of pine nuts, roast them in a 350íF (175íC) oven for a few minutes or in a dry cast-iron frying pan. Watch them carefully, they burn easily.

Pine nuts add a mellow crunch to this winter-time tomato sauce.

Pasta with pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes

4 ounces pine nuts
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

Place pine nuts in a shallow baking dish and roast in a 350íF (175íC) oven until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Place sun-dried tomatoes in bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove tomatoes and reserve 1 cup water. Cut tomatoes into small pieces. Set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat oil; and onion and garlic and saute till tender. Stir in tomato-soaking liquid and mix well. Add sun-dried tomatoes, capers and pine nuts and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Pine nut pancakes with prosciutto-tomato sauce

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped, sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
¾ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil for cooking pancakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces prosciutto, minced
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup heavy cream

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Beat together milk, eggs and olive oil. Stir in dry ingredients to the milk mixture. Add sun-dried tomatoes, basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese and mix well.

Lightly oil a griddle or skillet and make pancakes using cup batter for each one. Cook 2 minutes one side; 1 minutes on the other.

To make sauce, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute shallots and garlic 3 minutes. Add prosciutto and cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cool 10 minutes. Stir in heavy cream. Heat slightly, do not boil. Makes 4 servings.

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting

The 12th annual general meeting was held at the Baxter Conservation Area Interpretative Center on March 23, 1991. The meeting was called to order at 10:45AM by the Chair, Hank Jones. Approximately 20 members and 2 guests were present. It was confirmed by Secretary George Truscott that a quorum was present.

No corrections or comments were proposed regarding the minutes of the 11th AGM. Adoption moved by Cliff Craig and seconded by Mark Schaefer.

The new Interpretative Center by Cliff Craig (RVCA)... The Interpretative center has been constructed with energy conservation in mind, conserving energy via solar panels which supply electricity and lighting. A ground source heat pump supplies energy efficient heating.

The Chair Report... In 1990, an application was made to SONG to change the name and the area of this chapter. The proposed area was to include the area eastward of Ottawa, extending to the St. Lawrence and on to the Quebec border The proposed name was to be the Eastern Chapter of SONG, ECSONG. SONG approved the application. The AGM was asked to concur. Adoption was moved by Art Read, seconded by Irene Woolford, and approved unanimously.

Activities of the Chapter in 1990...

1. Baxter Field Day 1990 was a success. We now have a Baxter Liaison Committee. Suggested that the Nut Grove be named after Fil Park; his family has been asked to propose a name. The purpose of the committee is to plan for the long term development of the grove.

2. Oak Valley Field Day 1990. The need of a planning committee was recognized, and a group has been formed.

3. Fall Field Day at the Dominion Arboretum. A committee was form to liaise with the Dominion Arboretum in order to improve the collection.

4. February Winter Meeting at the Citizen Building. A number of important presentations were given by members.

5. An invitation has been received from Anstace and Larry Esmonde-White to help produce a half-hour video on nut gardening. To be shown on TV program nation-wide next year.

Treasurer's Report by Art Read... We have a good bank balance. Moved the report be adopted by Art Read, seconded by Bob Scally, approved unanimously.

Report of Nomination Committee - Bob Scally...

Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer remain the same, approved unanimously. Office of Secretary is still open: George Truscott will help until a secretary can be found.


A videotape on 'Pruning Black Walnuts for Profit' is available from the Library.

Editor of Nuttery, Hank Jones. The Nuttery is now ten years old. What was once done by hand in 1984 is now computerized. Forty-three issues have been published in ten years, 103 copies per issue are now shipped. Seventy-five of the recipients today are members of SONG. Other copies go to the HQ Song, Quebec, BC, NS and Siberia. Hank felt it is time to review content, format and direction of the Nuttery. But he's too proud to ask for help.

Baxter Nut Grove Liaison Committee. Cliff Craig - Chair; members are George Joiner, Alec Jones and Mark Schaefer. Cliff Craig welcomed the Chapter. People are needed to operate and maintain the Grove. There is a need for a 1991 work plan. The 1991 field Day will be May 4. Annual basis - new plantings, pruning, records of Master plan needed for long term, vision of nut grove 20 years hence. Need a history of the grove. Perhaps need for signs, map, and brochure. Through the Environmental Youth Corps, it may be possible to hire two summer students to work in the grove, to research history and draft plans.

Oak Valley Report - Irene Woolford. The Oak Valley is a 5 acre plot. We have 4 Japanese Heart Nuts, and some ginkgos. Ernie Kerr has volunteered to survey the area. There is a possibility that we may be able to access the Shell Canada compost project for leaves to mulch the area. The Winchester Council holds a fall leaf collection, if we take the leaves, they avoid dump fees. Irene suggested we plant trees on the banks of the river to stop erosion - and to encourage the same along the rest of the river. Oak Valley is now 5 acres, but there is land to the West and perhaps SNRCA would include this and let us plan 10 acres total. The committee is still looking for a chairperson.

Report on Commercial Growing - Trees and Nuts by Guy Lefebvre Source Wood Products - interested in seed, seedlings and wood. Attempting to gain information. Nearest plantations are in Niagara. Doug Campbell of Cango could give us a presentation. He seems to favour Heartnut for this area, it has many uses. Chesterville plantation of Black Walnut. Will be thinned by removal of 40 trees. Guy pointed out the importance of heredity on the colour of hard wood etc.

CBC Gardening Program - Bob Scally. We've been invited to participate again this year- April 26 from 10AM to 5PM - in the lobby at 240 Sparks St. Anstace and Larry Esmonde-White of the TV series "From a Country Garden" were introduced.

12:15 Lunch Break

Alec Jones presentation re: The Dominion Arboretum and possible joint projects with them. Arboretum was started in the 1880's. Funding has been reduced in the past 10 years, and is now only a park. Only has one botanist now; Friends of the Experimental Farm was formed a few years ago. They have been active in upgrading the Arboretum. Re climate warming, species should be researched to cover this eventuality.

Mark Schaefer - course to have been given at Kemptville last winter on the management, identification, successions, tolerances, soils, etc. Financial support was withdrawn, so the course did not materialize. Considerable interest was evident, and possibly a course of 10 sessions of 2 hours could be put through the Carleton Board

Nut Gardening - a ½ hour video for the TV series "From a Country Garden". The series is produced by Anstace and Larry Esmonde-White and would commence March 1992. Heather Apple of Song is willing to coordinate the Program. The video "Pruning Black Walnuts for a profit" was presented in place of a speaker. It was well received. Guy Lefebvre offered ECSONG a board display of various nut woods.

The chair thanked RVCA for the use of the building at Baxter Conservation Area. The meeting adjourned a 3PM.

George Truscott, Secretary, ECSONG.

Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.